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10 Foods High In Zinc


Performing more than 300 enzymatic functions in the body, zinc is no doubt an essential mineral.

It is responsible for myriad functions like wound healing, building protein and DNA, and enhancing immune system function.

Most importantly, since your body cannot produce zinc on its own, you have to rely on external food sources or supplements to obtain this mineral.

The recommended daily intake of zinc should be around 8 milligrams for adult women and around 11 milligrams for an adult male.

Although, you should not aim at consuming more than 40 milligrams of zinc in a single day.

To adhere to this recommended daily limit, you can opt for different food sources. There are even certain oral supplements that could help you to get zinc.

However, consuming zinc supplements should always be done after consulting your health care provider.

Oral zinc supplements might result in certain side effects like vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, indigestion, and headache.

Due to this, it is always better to rely on natural food sources of zinc. Let’s have a look at them.

Best Foods High In Zinc

  1. Oats

    Besides being versatile and cheap, oats are a great food item to amplify the amount of zinc in your body.

    If you didn’t know, zinc even has a soluble fiber that could reduce[1] your risk of cardiovascular diseases.

    With 148 calories, 5.5 grams of protein, and 1.2 milligrams sodium per half cup, this food item can provide[2] you with 1.3 milligrams of zinc.

    This means it could help to adhere to approx 16% of the women’s daily requirement of zinc.

    So if you want to add this food item to your diet, then you could try out a plethora of recipes with it like oats egg omelet or other oats recipes for a protein-packed snack.

  2. Oysters

    With a wide array of nutrients like antioxidants and protein, oysters can help you to get a good amount of zinc.

    3 medium-sized oysters can provide[3] you approx 16 milligrams of this mineral.

    However, the only thing you may need to make sure of while adding this food item to your diet is to avoid eating it raw.

    This is because raw oysters could have bacteria and contaminants in them like cadmium or mercury, which may be unhealthy for your health.

    So you should stick to eating oysters occasionally if you want to increase the zinc levels in your body.

    Not only this but 3 ounces of raw oysters can even provide[4] you with more than 100% of your daily vitamin B12 requirements.

    This could be beneficial[5] for your nervous system, healthy blood cells, and metabolism.

  3. Pumpkin Seeds

    If you are a vegetarian, then here’s some good news for you. You can adhere to the daily requirements of zinc by consuming pumpkin seeds.

    These seeds are quite versatile and one ounce of them could provide you approx 2.2 milligrams of zinc.

    Besides this, the same amount of pumpkin seeds might even provide you with 8.5 grams of plant-based proteins.

    So, all you have to do is to use these delectable seeds in countless meals.

    A study[6] substantiates the fact that eating pumpkin seeds might lower the risk of some types of cancers.

  4. Cashews

    If you are looking out for a nut that can enhance the amount of zinc in your body, then cashews are the right option for you.

    Cashews are a versatile[7] nut that you can snack on throughout the day. Just 56 grams of this food item could provide you with 3 milligrams of zinc.

    So get ready to increase your zinc consumption by munching on these delectable nuts. You can even use them as a topping on different meals.

  5. Hemp Seeds

    Packed with healthy unsaturated fats, hemp seeds are another plant-based source[8] of zinc.

    These seeds are also a good source of amino acid, and arginine, and hence may reduce[9] your risk of cardiovascular diseases and evade any inflammation.

    All you have to do is to use them as a topping or sprinkle them on your salads or yogurt. Just three tablespoons of hemp seeds could provide you with a whopping figure of three milligrams of zinc.

  6. Garbanzo Beans Or Chickpeas

    With 2.5 milligrams of zinc in a single cup, chickpeas are a complex carbohydrate that may be slowly digested by your body.

    The body uses these complex carbohydrates for energy and the study[10] even shows how they could help in weight loss.

    The reason behind this could be that chickpeas will help you to feel full for a longer time and improve your digestion.

    Apart from the garbanzo beans, you could also try out the black beans[11] and edamame[12] which are also high in zinc.

    You may either eat boiled chickpeas or even prepare a salad or chickpeas using different vegetables.

    Additionally eating chickpeas in the form of hummus is also a great way to add zinc to your diet.

  7. Lobster

    Apart from oysters, lobster is another shellfish that could amplify[13] the zinc levels in your body. Just a small lobster may provide you approx 4.74 milligrams of zinc.

    You could enjoy this meal packed with zinc either with beans or peas.

  8. Greek Yoghurt

    With a plethora of health benefits, Greek yogurt even has a great amount[14] of zinc. Just seven ounces of low-fat Greek yogurt could provide you approx 1.5 milligrams of zinc.

    This figure is approximately 19% of the daily zinc requirements needed by a female. Apart from this, greek yogurt also has certain digestion-boosting probiotics.

    No doubt why you could include this 146 calories meal in your diet. There are myriad methods to use Greek yogurt in your meal.

    You could prepare a salad using Greek yogurt, use it in the form of a spread as an alternative for mayonnaise or even eat it just like that.

    However, when you purchase Greek yogurt, make sure that it doesn’t have any added sugar to evade any unhealthy effects.

  9. Cocoa Powder

    Rich in flavonoids namely catechin and epicatechin, the cocoa powder could help to evade inflammation and other diseases.

    You could receive 1.9 milligrams of zinc with just one ounce of cocoa powder, as per the data[15].

    Moreover, research even shows how the presence of different flavonoids in cocoa powder can help to improve[16] the blood circulation in your body and lower blood pressure.

    So you may include cocoa powder in your diet. You could use it to make coffee, cakes or shakes.

  10. Lean Beef

    95% lean ground beef with its fat trimmed could help you to gain[17] 5.7 milligrams of zinc per four-ounce serving.

    This whopping figure will help you to adhere to more than 70% of your recommended daily intake of zinc.

    Moreover, it could even provide you with 24 grams of protein and 155 calories. However, make sure to limit the consumption of red meat to just a few times in a single week.

Why Do You Require Zinc?

As mentioned earlier, zinc performs several enzymatic functions in the body. So it is a part of some of the crucial bodily systems. Let’s have a look at them.

  • Child Growth And Cell Division

    Zinc may help in the development and growth of children because it plays a crucial role[18] in the process of cell division.

  • Healthy Skin

    Zinc is also a crucial requirement[19] for healthy skin. Due to the same reason, several zinc products may help to treat a wide array of skin issues like infections, skin ulcers, acne, or other skin disorders.

  • Enzyme Function

    Zinc is responsible to help[20] more than 300 enzymes in proffering their bodily functions. So, it may play a great role in several processes like indigestion, metabolism, and so on.

  • Treating Cold

    You can even use zinc to shorten the duration of your cold. This can be done by consuming zinc syrup within 24 hours when you see the cold symptoms, as per the study[21].

    You could also try out the intranasal spray for the same.

  • Slow Progression Of Macular Degeneration

    Macular degeneration is a common issue in adults under which you may lose your vision.

    As the name itself suggests, the reason behind macular degeneration may be due to the thinning of the macula.

    However, the study[22] shows how zinc might help to reduce the progression of this disease.

  • Facilitates Reproduction And Regulates Hormone Level

    Zinc may even help[23] to regulate the hormone levels in your body. It is essential in the production of different hormones in females known as estrogen and progesterone.

    At the same time, it might even enhance the production of testosterone in males and improve sperm quality.

    Apart from this, zinc may even be required to balance the insulin levels in your body, and hence it could help in the regulation of blood sugar levels.

    No wonder how it may facilitate reproduction as well.


Hopefully, this article has provided you with the different sources of zinc.

If you have a deficiency of zinc, then you may aim at including all these food items in your meals according to your preferences.

Moreover, evade using zinc supplements without consulting your healthcare expert to avoid certain side effects.


Working4Health prefers using primary and verified references. We have strict sourcing guidelines and our primary references include peer-reviewed research, academic, and medical institution studies.

  1. Peter J Little, Runa Bhattacharya, Abel E Moreyra, et al. Zinc and cardiovascular disease Nutrition. 2010 Nov-Dec;26(11-12):1050-7. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2010.03.007. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20950764/
  2. Prasad Rasane, Alok Jha, Latha Sabikhi, et al. Nutritional advantages of oats and opportunities for its processing as value added foods – a review J Food Sci Technol. 2015 Feb; 52(2): 662–675.Published online 2013 Jun 25. doi: 10.1007/s13197-013-1072-1
  3. Zinc Updated: August 2, 2022 Available from: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Zinc-HealthProfessional/
  4. LARGE SMOKED OYSTERS FDC Published:4/1/2019 Available from: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/389475/nutrients
  5. Hyesook Lee, Hyun Hwang-Bo, Seon Yeong Ji, et al. Effect of fermented oyster extract on growth promotion in Sprague–Dawley rats Integr Med Res. 2020 Dec; 9(4): 100412.Published online 2020 Apr 7. doi: 10.1016/j.imr.2020.100412
  6. Svjetlana Medjakovic, Stefanie Hobiger, Karin Ardjomand-Woelkart, et al. Pumpkin seed extract: Cell growth inhibition of hyperplastic and cancer cells, independent of steroid hormone receptors Fitoterapia. 2016 Apr;110:150-6. doi: 10.1016/j.fitote.2016.03.010. Epub 2016 Mar 11. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26976217/
  7. Joanna Suliburska and Zbigniew Krejpcio Evaluation of the content and bioaccessibility of iron, zinc, calcium and magnesium from groats, rice, leguminous grains and nuts J Food Sci Technol. 2014 Mar; 51(3): 589–594.Published online 2011 Sep 29. doi: 10.1007/s13197-011-0535-5
  8. Seeds, hemp seed, hulled FDC Published:4/1/2019 Available from: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170148/nutrients
  9. Delfin Rodriguez-Leyva and Grant N Pierce The cardiac and haemostatic effects of dietary hempseed Nutr Metab (Lond). 2010; 7: 32.Published online 2010 Apr 21. doi: 10.1186/1743-7075-7-32
  10. Taylor C. Wallace, Robert Murray, and Kathleen M. Zelman The Nutritional Value and Health Benefits of Chickpeas and Hummus Nutrients. 2016 Dec; 8(12): 766.Published online 2016 Nov 29. doi: 10.3390/nu8120766
  11. BLACK BEANSFDC Published:4/1/2019 Available from: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/384012/nutrients
  12. Edamame, frozen, prepared FDC Published:4/1/2019 Available from: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/168411/nutrients
  13. Vazhiyil Venugopal, Kumarapanicker Gopakumar Shellfish: Nutritive Value, Health Benefits, and Consumer Safety Compr Rev Food Sci Food Saf. 2017 Nov;16(6):1219-1242. doi: 10.1111/1541-4337.12312. Epub 2017 Oct 25. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33371588/
  14. Naglaa Hani El-Abbadi, Maria Carlota Dao, and Simin Nikbin Meydani Yogurt: role in healthy and active aging Am J Clin Nutr. 2014 May; 99(5): 1263S–1270S.Published online 2014 Apr 2. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.113.073957
  15. Cocoa, dry powder, unsweetened FDC Published:4/1/2019 Available from: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/169593/nutrients
  16. Karin Ried, Peter Fakler, Nigel P Stocks Effect of cocoa on blood pressure Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2017 Apr; 2017(4): CD008893.Published online 2017 Apr 25. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD008893.pub3
  17. Sangita Sharma, Tony Sheehy, and Laurence N Kolonel Contribution of meat to vitamin B-12, iron, and zinc intakes in five ethnic groups in the U.S.: Implications for developing food-based dietary guidelines J Hum Nutr Diet. 2013 Apr; 26(2): 156–168.Published online 2013 Feb 7. doi: 10.1111/jhn.12035
  18. Enju Liu, Laura Pimpin, Masha Shulkin, et al. Effect of Zinc Supplementation on Growth Outcomes in Children under 5 Years of Age Nutrients. 2018 Mar; 10(3): 377.Published online 2018 Mar 20. doi: 10.3390/nu10030377
  19. Mrinal Gupta, Vikram K. Mahajan, Karaninder S. Mehta, et al. Zinc Therapy in Dermatology: A Review Dermatol Res Pract. 2014; 2014: 709152.Published online 2014 Jul 10. doi: 10.1155/2014/709152
  20. K A McCall, C Huang, C A Fierke Function and mechanism of zinc metalloenzymes J Nutr. 2000 May;130(5S Suppl):1437S-46S. doi: 10.1093/jn/130.5.1437S. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10801957/
  21. Meenu Singh and Rashmi R Das Zinc for the common cold Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2015 Apr; 2015(4): CD001364.
    Published online 2015 Apr 30. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD001364.pub5
  22. Janusz Blasiak, Elzbieta Pawlowska, Jan Chojnacki, et al. Zinc and Autophagy in Age-Related Macular Degeneration Int J Mol Sci. 2020 Jul; 21(14): 4994.Published online 2020 Jul 15. doi: 10.3390/ijms21144994
  23. Marzenna Nasiadek, Joanna Stragierowicz, Michał Klimczak, et al. The Role of Zinc in Selected Female Reproductive System Disorders Nutrients. 2020 Aug; 12(8): 2464.Published online 2020 Aug 16. doi: 10.3390/nu12082464

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